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Highland Forensics team has successful start to speech season

Forensics team members give a thumbs up

There is no debate about it, this was a challenging and successful semester for Highland’s Forensics team. Since the beginning of October, eight students have been part of the competitive speech and debate team, bringing their share of wins to the College.

“Our students have demonstrated patience and determination along the way, and the adjustment has been relatively painless,” said Harry Bodell, Speech Communication Instructor, and Forensics coach.

The Highland Forensics speech and debate team had several strong showings at digital speech and debate competition over the last few months. Despite the obstacles posed by a complicated year, the team has made a successful transition to online competition, and they have made their mark at several digital tournaments.

“The speech and debate (forensics) season have been both especially challenging and especially fulfilling, which I consider to be the perfect environment to encourage growth,” Bodell said. “While we certainly would prefer to coach, travel, and compete in person, this season’s digital competition format has allowed us to stay safe, engage in the activity that we love, and learn some new skills along the way.”

M. Jack Parker Parliamentary Debate Tournament

Hosted by Northern Illinois University on Oct. 16

Top Novice Speaker in Parliamentary Debate: Mike Sherman (Davis)

Phi Rho Pi Region IV Affiliated Forensics League (RAFL) Tournament 1

Co-Hosted by Moraine Valley Community College and Illinois Central College on Oct. 23-24

Bronze Medalist in Persuasive Speaking: Kara Becker (Rockford)

Lincoln Parliamentary Debate League Tournament 1

Hosted by the Lincoln Parliamentary Debate League on Oct. 30

Silver Medalists in Parliamentary Debate: Shirley Hounnou (Freeport) and Mike Sherman (Davis)

Phi Rho Pi Region IV Affiliated Forensics League (RAFL) Tournament 2

Co-Hosted by Highland Community College and Prairie State College on Nov. 13-14

Silver Medalist in International Public Debate (IPDA): Kara Becker (Rockford)

Silver Medalist in Impromptu Speaking: Dezi Brooks (Freeport)

Silver Medalist in Prose Interpretation: Dezi Brooks (Freeport)

Silver Medalist in Informative Speaking: McKenna Peart (Scales Mound)

Bronze Medalist in Impromptu Speaking: Mike Sherman (Davis)

Team Sweepstakes: Silver in Debate, Bronze in Individual Events, Bronze Overall

To wrap up the fall semester, the team competed at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Edna Sorber Invitational on Nov. 28 where Mike Sherman (Davis) received 4th Place in Impromptu Speaking, and was also named Top Novice in Impromptu Speaking.

Highland students can join Forensics by emailing Harry Bodell at

Photo: (left to right) Dezi Brooks (Freeport), Kara Becker (Rockford), McKenna Peart (Scales Mound), and Mike Sherman (Davis)